DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tag Archives: Scope of Rights

When Does My Pillow Become Your Windfall?

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Keyword Ads, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

Mike Lindell, has built an impressive business around a pretty simple brand name and trademark: We’ve previously written about the MyPillow trademark, noting the apparently narrow scope of rights it enjoys, as a result of the coexistence with some pretty similar marks, including this one: Earlier this year, My Pillow filed a complaint in federal district court in… Continue Reading

Amazon Smiles With Iconic Non-Verbal Logo?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

Yesterday, while on the highway heading to a client meeting, I noticed a truck that looked like this: It reminded me of the plentiful ink we’ve spilled over the years about singular iconic non-verbal logos that can truly stand alone. Remember Seth Godin’s generous insights shared, here? Given the dominant display of Amazon’s non-verbal logo shown above (without the Amazon… Continue Reading

Snickers Has a Cross Section TM Registration!

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Trademarks, USPTO

It is frequently becoming more and more difficult to remember all the topics we’ve covered here over the last — almost — nine years. A recent Snickers end cap display jogged my memory: Turns out, eight months into this little adventure we call DuetsBlog, I wrote a blog post called Delicious Trademarks: Candy Bar Cross-Section Trademarks? Then, a… Continue Reading

Happy Birthday: TTAB Turns Sixty in 2018

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

We follow closely and write a lot about what goes on with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); these ironmongers do too, really well. Serious trademark and brand owners care about TTAB decisions because many trademark disputes begin and end there, as the TTAB determines the important… Continue Reading

The Brand With 3 Stripes, Bands, or Stitches?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

We’ve written a lot over the years about Adidas’ three-stripe non-verbal, non-traditional trademark. Turns out, Adidas actually owns a federally-registered trademark for the verbal, spelled-out, look-for advertising equivalent too, called: The Brand With The 3 Stripes®. We haven’t until now probed the meaning of “stripe” though: “A long narrow band or strip, typically of the… Continue Reading

The Careful Timing of Trademark Truncation

Posted in Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, Truncation

A recent stroll through a big box store opened my eyes to a brand of steel toe boots I hadn’t encountered before, take a look at the CAT that will be protecting my son’s toes this Summer: CAT is an excellent example of successful trademark truncation, a single-syllable truncated brand name for the four-syllable CATERPILLAR… Continue Reading

April Madness, the NCAA’s One Month Buffer?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

We write a lot here about the scope and strength of trademark rights and how that determination is often intertwined to making intelligent likelihood of confusion determinations. Does “April Madness” fall within the NCAA’s scope of trademark rights for “March Madness“? Likelihood of confusion? Is “March Madness” a famous mark deserving protection from dilution? How… Continue Reading

How Would You Pronounce Infringement?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Last week, we discussed Caribou Coffee’s billboard ad referencing transparency — this week another installment from Caribou’s current Minneapolis skyway billboard campaign: That one made me think of this one, a post from a few months back about Kind nutritional bars and their Ingredients You Can See And Pronounce tagline and trademark: Marketing types, if… Continue Reading

Owning a Cup of Trademark Transparency

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Goodwill, Idea Protection, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

Seeing this Caribou Coffee skyway billboard was a good reminder to me of how much we hear about the importance of transparency in our relationships, including those with brands we love: It appears that the prevalence of society’s use of the word “transparency” may be at an all time high, where the use of “transparent”… Continue Reading

KIND Taglines: About Owning Your Ad Copy?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

First things first: Happy 4th of July, Dear Readers! That was a pretty honest, simple, genuine, transparent, straightforward, to the point, not belaboring at all, under any circumstances, my most sincere wishes to our dear readers, agree? Now contrast the original well wishes with the elaborate description of them, the latter being anything but short… Continue Reading

Thinking Outside Section 2(d) Refusals

Posted in Articles, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act is the statutory basis for refusing registration based on likelihood of confusion with another mark. It is invoked on an ex parte basis by USPTO Examining Attorneys, and it is also raised in the context of inter partes cases between adversaries. When an applicant seeking to register its mark… Continue Reading

Going YARD with the VARO Brand for Batters?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Sight, Technology, Trademarks

Time spent with my boys in Omaha at the College World Series is hard to beat. Although, last year, Father’s Day weekend was hard to beat too. And, the archives indicate five years ago was pretty wonderful as well. Basically, it’s all good. On this particular road trip, we were fortunate to score tickets to… Continue Reading

Another Real Lulu: Anatomy of an Affidavit

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

On Tuesday of this week, we discussed the trademark infringement case filed by Lulu’s Market & Deli against Lulu’s Public House (depicted above), here is a link to a pdf of the Complaint. As you will recall, we expressed a healthy dose of skepticism about the claims being asserted by Lulu’s Market & Deli, and we predicted… Continue Reading

A Real Lulu of a Trademark Infringement Case

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Law Suits, Trademarks, USPTO

It’s that time of year again, the Minnesota State Fair is here, and trademark issues abound, again. We’re actually not covering the trademark fair issue we planned to cover today because we just caught wind of a lulu of a trademark infringement case filed on Friday of last week against a brand new 2014 fair vendor: Lulu’s Public House. This particular… Continue Reading

Description of a Trademark with the USPTO

Posted in Articles, Branding, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Continuing our discussion — from yesterday and the day before — about the description of a mark provided to the USPTO during the registration process, the below images from two unrelated federally-registered, non-verbal logos for banking services, help tell another related story:                       As the links… Continue Reading

Google’s Latest Trademark Bugaboo?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Search Engines, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Fame tends to attract attention, and imitation, especially unwanted imitation from, well, even pests. The Google trademark appears to have obtained such a high degree of fame that no third party can include the word “Google” in its mark without having a problem, regardless of what the third party happens to be selling. Ron, can you say, right in gross?… Continue Reading

Louboutin & Lessons Learned

Posted in Branding, Copyrights, Infringement, Keyword Ads, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Search Engines, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

As promised, here are some further thoughts, lessons learned, and remaining unanswered questions concerning the recent and long-anticipated decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am. Holding, Inc. Lessons Learned for Marketing Types: Single color trademarks may be owned, registered, and protected when they are distinctive and… Continue Reading

Louboutin Wins Second Circuit Appeal, Sort Of . . . .

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

At long last, here is a pdf link to the decision, and here is the Second Circuit Court of Appeals summary in a nutshell: “We conclude that the District Court’s holding that a single color can never serve as a trademark in the fashion industry, Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am., Inc., 778… Continue Reading